Cave's grand slam lifts Twins past Royals

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins' blueprint for 2018 included a dynamic young center fielder making great plays on defense and coming up with big hits. Of course, that role was supposed to be filled by Byron Buxton, once considered the top prospect in baseball.

Instead, the Twins are rallying around Jake Cave.

Cave hit his first career grand slam and closer Fernando Rodney survived a chaotic ninth inning as the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Sunday.

Buxton's 2018 has been mostly a washout due to injuries. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft was optioned to Triple-A Rochester and is currently on the minor league disabled list with an injured wrist. That opened the door for Cave, a 25-year-old rookie the Twins acquired in a minor league trade with the Yankees this spring.

''This is my dream,'' said Cave, who's more or less been the Twins' everyday center fielder since late June. ''I wouldn't have it any other way.''

Cave homered in his major league debut on May 19, and he established himself with a number of highlight-reel catches along the way, earning him the trust of manager Paul Molitor. The latest step in that process is came Sunday as Molitor started the left-handed hitting Cave against a hard-throwing lefty in Kansas City's Danny Duffy (7-10), who had been tough on the Twins in three prior starts this season.

That trust was rewarded with two outs in the second inning when Cave jumped on a full-count fastball for his first career grand slam and fourth homer of the season to put the Twins on top 4-2.

''I know Duffy's got good stuff, I know he's a competitor, and I know he's going to come right at me at some point with the heater,'' Cave said. ''I got it, just stayed short, didn't try to do too much, and I was rewarded.''

Cave fell behind 1-2 in the at-bat and then laid off some tough pitches, including a curveball that just missed inside at 1-2 and a fastball just below the knees one pitch before the grand slam.

''I had him punched out twice, and it's tough to see the ball go out of the yard,'' Duffy said. ''But you still have to keep pitching.''

Molitor likes what he's seen so far from the Twins' second choice in center field.

''He's got a little moxie to his game. He's not afraid to take some chances on the bases and defensively, which is good because when he got up here we said, `Don't play tentative.' If you play timid, the game will bite you,'' Molitor said. ''I think he's taking advantage so far. Hopefully it's a good step for him as he tries to get himself established up here.''

RODNEY WALKS THE TIGHTROPE

Rodney came on to protect a one-run lead and promptly gave up Whit Merrifield's fourth hit of the game leading off the ninth. But catcher Mitch Garver threw out Merrifield trying to steal second. Alex Gordon then struck out. Big sigh of relief, right?

Hold that thought. Salvador Perez lined a single to center. Pinch runner Adalberto Mondesi stole second, then took third as Lucas Duda walked on a full-count pitch. Duda even stole second, his first stolen base since 2014.

But with the tying run 90 feet away, Rodney retired Rosell Herrera on a ground ball to earn his 24th save in 30 chances.

''I thought that we were going to find a way to score a run there,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''We just couldn't muster it.''

QUOTABLE

''It's easy to get frustrated, which I did. I came back to the dugout and I had my little 30 seconds of being upset. But I know we're winning this game, we're up by one and we've got our big man (Rodney) coming in in the ninth. I've got no choice but to give my best for him.'' -- Garver, on refocusing after he grounded into a rally-killing double play in the eighth inning

SHORT START

Twins starter Ervin Santana lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his third start since spending half of the season on the disabled list. Santana gave up three runs on seven hits and left after throwing 78 pitches.

Lefty Gabriel Moya (2-0) got out of the two-on, one-out jam and earned his second career victory. He picked up career win No. 1 in Friday's series opener.

''I just kind of felt we were at a little bit of a crossroad there,'' Molitor said about pulling Santana in the fifth inning. ''My gut told me we wanted to go ahead and try to get those last two outs with Moya, and thankfully he got it done.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: Mondesi got a second day off to rest his right shoulder, which he strained while diving for a ball on Friday.

Twins: Grossman was replaced by a pinch runner after hitting a one-out single in the seventh. After initially listing him as day-to-day with a mild right hamstring strain, the team announced after the game that Grossman would be placed on the 10-day disabled list.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (6-11, 5.12 ERA) takes the mound on Monday to open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs in Kansas City. In his last start, Junis pitched into the sixth inning and struck out five White Sox to pick up his first victory since May 18.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (5-8, 3.47) will face the Indians for the second straight outing as the Twins open a three-game series in Cleveland on Monday. Gibson pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs while fanning six in a 6-2 loss to the Indians last Tuesday.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
KC34-77
2000102005120
MIN52-58
04020000X6111
  • W: G. Moya (2-0)L: D. Duffy (7-10)S: F. Rodney (24)
  • HR: KC - L. Duda (10), W. Merrifield (7), MIN - J. Cave (4)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
W. Merrifield 2B51421000.307.375.436.8119.0
A. Gordon LF41210110.250.322.357.6794.5
S. Perez C50100014.232.270.432.7020.5
A. Mondesi PR00000000.269.283.413.6964.0
L. Duda DH41121134.235.307.401.7088.5
R. Herrera 3B50100004.257.291.358.6491.0
B. Phillips CF40000032.188.250.333.583-1.5
J. Bonifacio RF40000012.200.286.330.616-0.5
R. O'Hearn 1B30000001.125.263.313.5760.0
a- H. Dozier PH-1B10100000.213.271.342.6123.0
A. Escobar SS42200012.200.251.273.5244.5
  • a-singled for O'Hearn in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
R. Grossman RF40210010.253.332.365.6973.5
L. Morrison PR-1B00000000.195.289.387.6760.0
E. Rosario LF-RF40000001.295.336.498.8340.0
J. Polanco SS40100001.287.369.380.7483.0
M. Sano 1B-3B41200020.217.285.406.6912.0
L. Forsythe 2B41200011.215.277.298.5742.5
M. Kepler DH31200112.241.333.432.7654.5
M. Garver C40000005.259.338.396.7340.0
E. Adrianza 3B-LF32110102.246.310.379.6895.0
J. Cave CF31141021.276.309.483.7928.0
    BATTING
    • 2B - A. Escobar (14)
    • HR - W. Merrifield (7), L. Duda (10)
    • RBI - W. Merrifield 2 (37), A. Gordon (28), L. Duda 2 (41)
    • 2-Out RBI - L. Duda 2 (21)
    BATTING
    • 2B - R. Grossman (17), M. Kepler (23)
    • HR - J. Cave (4)
    • RBI - R. Grossman (34), E. Adrianza (20), J. Cave 4 (20)
    • 2-Out RBI - R. Grossman (19), J. Cave 4 (11)
    BASERUNNING
    • SB - A. Mondesi 2 (11), L. Duda, H. Dozier
    • CS - W. Merrifield (6)
    BASERUNNING
    • SB - J. Polanco (4)
    FIELDING
    • DP - 2 (Escobar-Merrifield-O'Hearn; Escobar-Perez-Dozier)
    FIELDING
    • E - M. Sano (7)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    D. Duffy (L, 7-10)6.08661614.701.481.0
    T. Hill1.01000105.291.452.5
    K. McCarthy0.22001003.741.29-3.0
    W. Peralta0.10000003.071.430.0
    PITCHERSIP
    D. Duffy (L, 7-10)6.0
    T. Hill1.0
    K. McCarthy0.2
    W. Peralta0.1
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    E. Santana4.17331316.141.642.5
    G. Moya (W, 2-0)1.20000206.391.2611.0
    T. Hildenberger (H, 16)1.02220113.811.20-0.5
    T. Rogers (H, 7)0.20000204.031.211.0
    T. May (H, 2)0.11000103.861.71-0.5
    F. Rodney (S, 24)1.02001103.161.417.5
    PITCHERSIP
    E. Santana4.1
    G. Moya (W, 2-0)1.2
    T. Hildenberger (H, 16)1.0
    T. Rogers (H, 7)0.2
    T. May (H, 2)0.1
    F. Rodney (S, 24)1.0
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - D. Duffy 103-69, T. Hill 11-9, K. McCarthy 20-11, W. Peralta 1-1
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Duffy 5-6, T. Hill 2-0, K. McCarthy 1-0, W. Peralta 1-0
    • Batters Faced - D. Duffy 26, T. Hill 4, K. McCarthy 4, W. Peralta
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - E. Santana 78-52, G. Moya 16-11, T. Hildenberger 13-9, T. Rogers 13-8, T. May 7-5, F. Rodney 20-12
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - E. Santana 3-7, G. Moya 1-2, T. Hildenberger 1-1, T. Rogers 1-0, F. Rodney 1-0
    • Batters Faced - E. Santana 21, G. Moya 5, T. Hildenberger 5, T. Rogers 3, T. May 2, F. Rodney 5
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    KC34-77
    2000102005120
    MIN52-58
    04020000X6111
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    W. Merrifield 2B51421000.307.375.436.8119.0
    A. Gordon LF41210110.250.322.357.6794.5
    S. Perez C50100014.232.270.432.7020.5
    A. Mondesi PR00000000.269.283.413.6964.0
    L. Duda DH41121134.235.307.401.7088.5
    R. Herrera 3B50100004.257.291.358.6491.0
    B. Phillips CF40000032.188.250.333.583-1.5
    J. Bonifacio RF40000012.200.286.330.616-0.5
    R. O'Hearn 1B30000001.125.263.313.5760.0
    a- H. Dozier PH-1B10100000.213.271.342.6123.0
    A. Escobar SS42200012.200.251.273.5244.5
    Total395125221019-----
    • a-singled for O'Hearn in the 8th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    R. Grossman RF40210010.253.332.365.6973.5
    L. Morrison PR-1B00000000.195.289.387.6760.0
    E. Rosario LF-RF40000001.295.336.498.8340.0
    J. Polanco SS40100001.287.369.380.7483.0
    M. Sano 1B-3B41200020.217.285.406.6912.0
    L. Forsythe 2B41200011.215.277.298.5742.5
    M. Kepler DH31200112.241.333.432.7654.5
    M. Garver C40000005.259.338.396.7340.0
    E. Adrianza 3B-LF32110102.246.310.379.6895.0
    J. Cave CF31141021.276.309.483.7928.0
    Total33611612713-----
    HITTERSAB
    R. Grossman RF4
    L. Morrison PR-1B0
    E. Rosario LF-RF4
    J. Polanco SS4
    M. Sano 1B-3B4
    L. Forsythe 2B4
    M. Kepler DH3
    M. Garver C4
    E. Adrianza 3B-LF3
    J. Cave CF3
    Total33
      BATTING
      • 2B - A. Escobar (14)
      • HR - W. Merrifield (7), L. Duda (10)
      • RBI - W. Merrifield 2 (37), A. Gordon (28), L. Duda 2 (41)
      • 2-Out RBI - L. Duda 2 (21)
      BATTING
      • 2B - R. Grossman (17), M. Kepler (23)
      • HR - J. Cave (4)
      • RBI - R. Grossman (34), E. Adrianza (20), J. Cave 4 (20)
      • 2-Out RBI - R. Grossman (19), J. Cave 4 (11)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - A. Mondesi 2 (11), L. Duda, H. Dozier
      • CS - W. Merrifield (6)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - J. Polanco (4)
      FIELDING
      • DP - 2 (Escobar-Merrifield-O'Hearn; Escobar-Perez-Dozier)
      FIELDING
      • E - M. Sano (7)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      D. Duffy (L, 7-10)6.08661614.701.481.0
      T. Hill1.01000105.291.452.5
      K. McCarthy0.22001003.741.29-3.0
      W. Peralta0.10000003.071.430.0
      Total8.01166271---
      PITCHERSIP
      D. Duffy (L, 7-10)6.0
      T. Hill1.0
      K. McCarthy0.2
      W. Peralta0.1
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      E. Santana4.17331316.141.642.5
      G. Moya (W, 2-0)1.20000206.391.2611.0
      T. Hildenberger (H, 16)1.02220113.811.20-0.5
      T. Rogers (H, 7)0.20000204.031.211.0
      T. May (H, 2)0.11000103.861.71-0.5
      F. Rodney (S, 24)1.02001103.161.417.5
      Total9.012552102---
      PITCHERSIP
      E. Santana4.1
      G. Moya (W, 2-0)1.2
      T. Hildenberger (H, 16)1.0
      T. Rogers (H, 7)0.2
      T. May (H, 2)0.1
      F. Rodney (S, 24)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - D. Duffy 103-69, T. Hill 11-9, K. McCarthy 20-11, W. Peralta 1-1
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Duffy 5-6, T. Hill 2-0, K. McCarthy 1-0, W. Peralta 1-0
      • Batters Faced - D. Duffy 26, T. Hill 4, K. McCarthy 4, W. Peralta
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - E. Santana 78-52, G. Moya 16-11, T. Hildenberger 13-9, T. Rogers 13-8, T. May 7-5, F. Rodney 20-12
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - E. Santana 3-7, G. Moya 1-2, T. Hildenberger 1-1, T. Rogers 1-0, F. Rodney 1-0
      • Batters Faced - E. Santana 21, G. Moya 5, T. Hildenberger 5, T. Rogers 3, T. May 2, F. Rodney 5
      • 7TH INNING
        Merrifield homered to left center, Escobar scored56
      • 5TH INNING
        Gordon singled to right, Escobar scored, Merrifield to second36
      • 4TH INNING
        Grossman doubled to left center, Adrianza scored26
        Adrianza singled to center, Kepler scored, Adrianza to second25
      • 2ND INNING
        Cave homered to right center, Sano, Forsythe and Adrianza scored24
      • 1ST INNING
        Duda homered to center, Gordon scored20
      • 9TH INNING
        • Fernando Rodney relieved Trevor May
        • W. Merrifield: Merrifield singled to left
        • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Merrifield caught stealing, catcher to shortstop, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
        • S. Perez: Strike swinging, Foul, Perez singled to left center
        • Adalberto Mondesi ran for Salvador Perez
        • L. Duda: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Mondesi stole third, Strike looking, Ball, Duda walked
        • R. Herrera: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Duda stole second, Herrera grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Taylor Rogers relieved Trevor Hildenberger
        • R. Herrera: Ball, Ball, Herrera safe at first on 3rd baseman Sano throwing error
        • B. Phillips: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Phillips struck out looking
        • J. Bonifacio: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Strike swinging, Bonifacio struck out swinging
        • Trevor May relieved Taylor Rogers
        • Hunter Dozier hit for Ryan O'Hearn
        • H. Dozier: Foul, Ball, Dozier singled to shallow right, Herrera to third
        • A. Escobar: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Dozier stole second, Strike swinging, Escobar struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 1 Error)
        • Kevin McCarthy relieved Tim Hill
        • M. Sano: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Sano singled to left center
        • L. Forsythe: Strike looking, Ball, Forsythe singled to right, Sano to second
        • M. Kepler: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Kepler walked, Sano to third, Forsythe to second
        • M. Garver: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Garver grounded into double play shortstop to catcher to first, Sano out at home, Forsythe to third, Kepler to second
        • Wily Peralta relieved Kevin McCarthy
        • E. Adrianza: Adrianza grounded bunt out to catcher
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • Trevor Hildenberger relieved Gabriel Moya
        • A. Escobar: Foul, Strike looking, Escobar doubled to left
        • W. Merrifield: Ball, Ball, Merrifield homered to left center, Escobar scored
        • A. Gordon: Ball, Gordon flied out to left
        • S. Perez: Ball, Perez grounded out to shortstop
        • L. Duda: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Duda struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 7th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Tim Hill relieved Danny Duffy
        • J. Cave: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Cave struck out looking
        • R. Grossman: Foul, Grossman singled to center
        • Logan Morrison ran for Robbie Grossman
        • E. Rosario: Rosario grounded out to pitcher, Morrison to second
        • J. Polanco: Ball, Foul, Foul, Polanco grounded out to third
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • G. Moya Pitching:
        • B. Phillips: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike looking, Phillips struck out looking
        • J. Bonifacio: Ball, Bonifacio lined out to third
        • R. O'Hearn: Strike looking, O'Hearn grounded out to first
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • D. Duffy Pitching:
        • M. Kepler: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Kepler singled to left
        • M. Garver: Strike swinging, Garver grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Kepler out at second
        • E. Adrianza: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Adrianza lined out to center
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • E. Santana Pitching:
        • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Ball, Escobar singled to left
        • W. Merrifield: Foul, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Merrifield singled to shallow center, Escobar to second
        • A. Gordon: Strike looking, Ball, Gordon singled to right, Escobar scored, Merrifield to second
        • S. Perez: Strike looking, Perez flied out to deep left
        • Gabriel Moya relieved Ervin Santana
        • L. Duda: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike looking, Duda struck out looking
        • R. Herrera: Ball, Herrera flied out to deep left
        • Middle of the 5th (1 Run, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • D. Duffy Pitching:
        • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Polanco fouled out to first
        • M. Sano: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Sano struck out swinging
        • L. Forsythe: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Forsythe struck out swinging
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • E. Santana Pitching:
        • R. Herrera: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Herrera singled to shallow center
        • B. Phillips: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Strike swinging, Phillips struck out swinging
        • J. Bonifacio: Bonifacio popped out to third
        • R. O'Hearn: Pickoff attempt, O'Hearn grounded out to first
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • D. Duffy Pitching:
        • M. Kepler: Ball, Strike swinging, Kepler doubled to left center
        • M. Garver: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Garver fouled out to first
        • E. Adrianza: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Adrianza singled to center, Kepler scored, Adrianza to second
        • J. Cave: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Cave struck out swinging
        • R. Grossman: Ball, Grossman doubled to left center, Adrianza scored
        • E. Rosario: Rosario flied out to center
        • End of the 4th (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • E. Santana Pitching:
        • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Escobar grounded out to shortstop
        • W. Merrifield: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Merrifield singled to right
        • A. Gordon: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Gordon walked, Merrifield to second
        • S. Perez: Strike looking, Ball, Pickoff attempt to second, Ball, Ball, Foul, Perez flied out to deep right, Merrifield to third
        • L. Duda: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Duda struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • D. Duffy Pitching:
        • E. Rosario: Rosario grounded bunt out to second
        • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Foul, Polanco singled to left
        • M. Sano: Strike (foul tip), Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Polanco stole second
        • L. Forsythe: Strike looking, Strike looking, Forsythe fouled out to first
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • E. Santana Pitching:
        • B. Phillips: Strike looking, Ball, Phillips popped out to shortstop
        • J. Bonifacio: Bonifacio fouled out to third
        • R. O'Hearn: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, O'Hearn flied out to deep left
        • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • D. Duffy Pitching:
        • M. Sano: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Sano singled to center
        • L. Forsythe: Forsythe singled to right, Sano to second
        • M. Kepler: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Kepler struck out swinging
        • M. Garver: Foul, Garver flied out to left
        • E. Adrianza: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Adrianza walked, Sano to third, Forsythe to second
        • J. Cave: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Cave homered to right center, Sano, Forsythe and Adrianza scored
        • R. Grossman: Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Grossman lined out to pitcher
        • End of the 2nd (4 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • E. Santana Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Strike looking, Ball, Merrifield flied out to deep right
        • A. Gordon: Foul, Ball, Gordon singled to center
        • S. Perez: Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Perez struck out looking
        • L. Duda: Ball, Duda homered to center, Gordon scored
        • R. Herrera: Ball, Herrera grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 1st (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • D. Duffy Pitching:
        • R. Grossman: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Grossman struck out swinging
        • E. Rosario: Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Rosario grounded out to second
        • J. Polanco: Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Polanco grounded out to third
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)